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BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Nov 26;16(1):151.

Exploring the impact of word-of-mouth about Physicians' service quality on patient choice based on online health communities.

Author information

1
School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.
2
School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China. wuhong634214924@163.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Health care service is a high-credence service and patients may face difficulties ascertaining service quality in order to make choices about their available treatment options. Online health communities (OHCs) provide a convenient channel for patients to search for physicians' information, such as Word-of-Mouth (WOM), particularly on physicians' service quality evaluated by other patients. Existing studies from other service domains have proved that WOM impacts consumer choice. However, how patients make a choice based on physicians' WOM has not been studied, particularly with reference to different patient characteristics and by using real data.

METHODS:

One thousand eight hundred fifty three physicians' real data were collected from a Chinese online health community. The data were analyzed using ordinary least squares (OLS) method.

RESULTS:

The study found that functional quality negatively moderated the relationship between technical quality and patient choice, and disease risk moderated the relationship between physicians' service quality and patient choice.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study recommends that hospital managers need to consider the roles of both technical quality and functional quality seriously. Physicians should improve their medical skills and bedside manners based on the severity and type of disease to provide better service.

KEYWORDS:

Disease risk; Functional quality; Online health communities; Patient choice; Service quality; Technical quality; Word-of-mouth

PMID:
27888834
PMCID:
PMC5124243
DOI:
10.1186/s12911-016-0386-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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